From CNN affiliate KCCI in Iowa:
DES MOINES, Iowa - President George W. Bush's plans for Iraq aren't sitting well with Democrats.
Bush said 5,700 U.S. forces will be home by Christmas instead of in the spring and four combat brigades will pull out as scheduled next July.
Two Democratic presidential candidates who were in Iowa on Thursday reacted to the plan. Bill Richardson spoke out about it during a stop in Council Bluffs, and Barack Obama talked about it while visiting Dubuque.
To see what they said, click here.
Shaheen will make a bid for a New Hampshire Senate seat.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen is resigning her post with Harvard University to run against Sen. John Sununu in 2008, the school announced Friday morning.
Shaheen, a Democrat, and Sununu, a Republican, squared off in 2002 for the Senate seat that was held, at the time, by GOP Sen. Robert Smith. Sununu defeated Smith earlier that year in the Republican primary, and went on to defeat Shaheen in the general election by a 51 to 47 percent margin. As of now, Shaheen does not have a clear path to the nomination, because there are already a handful of Democratic candidates running for the seat.
In 2005, Shaheen was appointed director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.
A French reporter and former consultant of ABC News is under fire for reportedly faking interviews with Obama and several other high profile figures.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It takes an accomplished reporter to land interviews with the likes of Sen. Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. And Alexis Debat, a French reporter and former ABC News terrorism consultant, published sit-downs with those prominent newsmakers and more in a French foreign affairs journal over the last five years.
There's only one problem. None of the interviews actually happened.
A French Web site, Rue 89, recently uncovered the fake Obama interview, prompting ABC News to investigate Debat's other recent high profile gets. And on Thursday, Brian Ross of ABC News wrote on his blog that spokespeople for several prominent politicos confirmed to the network that Debat had never spoken with the subjects in question.
Patrick Wajsman, Debat's editor at Politique Internationale, told ABC News, "This guy is just sick," and added, "I was a victim of this man. I had no reason to suspect someone like him could lie."
ABC News actually fired Debat in June after his claim of having earned a doctorate at the Sorbonne was proven false.
According to Ross, Debat admitted to ABC that he did not conduct interviews with Clinton, Pelosi, and Bloomberg, as well as former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, or former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
But he claims the interview with Obama was not fake, saying a freelance journalist under his employment questioned the Illinois senator and Democratic presidential hopeful. Ross said ABC News has not yet been able to validate this claim.
ABC News says it is currently reviewing all stories Debat contributed to since his hiring in 2001.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Giuliani said Clinton, MovOn.org, and the New York Times should apologize 'for what they did.'
(CNN) - MoveOn.org's New York Times ad calling into question Gen. David Petraeus' testimony before Congress drew more Republican ire Thursday - this time over the price the non-profit political advocacy group paid for the full-page ad.
The New York Post, citing MoveOn.org, reported Thursday that the organization paid $65,000 for the ad, calling it a $116,000 discount from the Times' usual $167,000 price. That prompted a pair of GOP presidential candidates to complain.
Rudy Giuliani, campaigning in Atlanta, blasted the Times and demanded that the newspaper "give us the same rate, the heavily discounted rate they gave MoveOn.org for that abominable ad."
And on Friday, the paper published the former New York City mayor's ad that defends Petraeus' record and criticizes Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, for her recent tough questioning of the general.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) — Here's a quick look at what's making news in South Carolina politics today:
John McCain brings his revamped campaign to the state tomorrow for his "No Surrender Tour." He's done well in New Hampshire and Iowa over the last week. But can he turn his campaign around in the state that did him in back in 2000?
A new state poll shows that black women could determine who wins the Democratic primary in South Carolina. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are in a dead heat among black women, while Obama leads among African-Americans in general.
Will President Bush pick a South Carolinian for Attorney General?
And finally, this is South Carolina: Some polls matter more than others.
— CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
Gravel had some frank words for the American people Thursday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Trying to be a "friend" to the American people, Democratic White House hopeful Mike Gravel gave his honest assessment to potential voters during an online Democratic candidate forum Thursday.
"I'm prepared to tell you that Americans are getting fatter and dumber," the former Alaska senator told comedian Bill Maher, one of the debate's moderators. "I have no problem saying that."
Maher asked a question to each of the eight Democratic candidates during the forum, which was sponsored by Slate, Yahoo! and the Huffington Post.
Maher told Gravel that obesity rates are up and reading levels are down and added that the "definition of a friend is someone who tells you the truth." Gravel replied that he was willing to be honest with the American people.
"I've also said that Americans are going to get the government they deserve," Gravel said. "And so if things are going bad, just remember who put these people in power."
– CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow
WASHINGTON (CNN) – It may be his last official day at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was earning his paycheck this morning making the rounds on the early television shows.
Joining CNN's "American Morning" from the North Lawn, Snow pushed the White House line on Iraq, addressing critics of the administration’s war policy less than 12 hours after President Bush's prime time address on the subject.
"It is probably about time for members of Congress who have been hooked on a failure narrative to realize we're having some success, celebrate it, give our guys credit for what they're doing, and build on it," Snow said.
Snow became press secretary in May of 2006. He is currently fighting a recurrence of colon cancer, but cited financial considerations as his reason for departing.
Asked how he feels about stepping away from the podium, Snow said "it's bittersweet."
"It is very difficult to leave the White House,” Snow said “I've loved every minute of the job. In terms of my health, I’ve got cancer but it is in remission. We keep fighting it. I think this is one of the things I'm just going to keep doing for years and years – getting treatment and trying to hold it in abeyance. But that's where we are. I feel great. I'm doing fine.”
On his future plans, Snow said "I'm going to give some speeches, I’m going to work on some books and I'm going to devote myself to causes that I think are important. I'm pretty excited about the whole combination."
– CNN Associate Producer Stephen Bach
Compiled by Lindsey Pope and Lauren Kornreich
CNN Washington Bureau
Making News Today…
The four letter word that will define a presidency
By Mark Preston
CNN Political Editor
WASHINGTON (CNN) - I-R-A-Q. It is a four letter word that will dominate political discussions today, influence the 2008 presidential race and ultimately define 43rd’s legacy.
President Bush sought to reassure a skeptical nation Thursday night that his surge of U.S. troops in Iraq is working and he would now start bringing home some of these soldiers. Full Story
The bad news? Bush will deliver to Congress today his report on the progress being made in Iraq and it doesn’t sound as if great or even good strides have been made.
Perhaps even worse, Bush acknowledged last night that he believes there is no quick exit strategy from Iraq and Americans should understand that a long term “political, economic, and security engagement that extends beyond my presidency” will be needed.
The prime time address touting the success of the additional troops was a tough sell for Bush, who has a 36 percent approval rating, according to a CNN-Opinion Research Corporation Poll released this week. Full Story
When the newest round of polls come out early next week, it will be interesting to see if the president was able to move the needle in his direction with this address or if he only reached the core Republicans who already support his Iraq plan.
Reaction to his speech was predictable, especially among those running for the White House …
Such as …
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York
“What the President told the American people tonight is that one year from now, there will be the same number of troops in Iraq as there were one year ago. That is simply too little too late, and unacceptable to this Congress and the American people who have made clear their strong desire to bring our brave troops home.”
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
"President Bush understands that our most crucial objective in Iraq is to make sure it does not become a safe haven for al-Qaeda and Jihadist terrorists. But that's just what would happen if Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have their way. Our troop presence has emboldened Sunni leaders to resist al-Qaeda. This is progress – important progress.”
Expect to see a second day of coverage of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s criticism of Sen. Hillary Clinton and MoveOn.org for their unflattering comments about Gen. David Petraeus. Giuliani runs an ad in The New York Times today defending Petraeus, after MoveOn.org used ad space in the same newspaper to slam the general earlier in the week. Giuliani took particular aim at Clinton Thursday in public comments and continues in today’s ad for her sharp remarks about Petraeus. Giuliani’s decision to buy the ad space is a politically savvy move that could help endear him with conservative Republican primary voters.
Look below in Political Hot Topics as well as on http://www.cnn.com/ticker throughout the day for additional reactions and reports on Bush’s speech.
* Meanwhile, Sen. Hillary Clinton will rely on “Magic” today to help build her warchest for what is expected to be an expensive and bruising fight for the Democratic presidential nomination. And no, the New York Democrat won’t be pulling contributions like rabbits out of a hat. Instead, NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson opens his home for a fundraiser that music industry legends Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy and Clarence Avant are expected to attend.
"We need a winner as our next President of the United States-someone that can help realistically improve relations in the world, someone that will work to provide affordable and accessible healthcare and someone that is simply a strong leader,” Johnson said in a statement. “I know that's Hillary Clinton.”
Sen. Clinton isn't the only one raising money for her campaign. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, heads to Laredo, Texas to headline a fundraiser on her behalf.
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
COLLINS ON BUSH SPEECH, "I JUST DON'T THINK THAT WAITING ANOTHER SIX MONTHS TO REASSESS THE SITUATION IS GOING TO MOVE US FORWARD,": If the prime targets of President Bush's appeal for patience last night were moderates in his own party, his speech may have fallen flat. Washington Post: Facing Tough Reelection Bids, GOP Moderates React With Concern
BELLS, HORNS USED BY HECKLERS DURING BUSH SPEECH: If you heard noise and commotion during President Bush’s televised speech on Iraq on Thursday night, rest assured it was at the very least well-thought-out noise. Anti-Bush protester Joe Hayman sent out an e-mail earlier in the day informing his fellow liberal activists, including CodePink, what devices he’d bring to Lafayette Park to disrupt the speech. DC Examiner: Protestors Inventory of Noise
BRITTISH AMBASSADOR BLASTS BUSH ADMINISTRATION: Britain’s outgoing Ambassador to Washington has accused the Bush Administration of misleading Tony Blair over its much-criticised plans for the reconstruction of Iraq after the invasion of 2003. The Times of London: Washington ‘Misled’ Blair Over Plans for Postwar Iraq
GOP '08ERS TOUGHEN WAR STANCE: For months, the Republican presidential candidates have awaited the report to Congress by Gen. David H. Petraeus, often deferring more pointed questions on the specifics of their views about the way forward in Iraq until his testimony. New York Times: For G.O.P. Candidates, A Common Talking Point on the War
VIRGINIA COUNTIES TAKE ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: Virginia localities are forming a coalition to collectively address problems associated with illegal aliens. Washington Times: Coalition Formed to Address Illegals
CORZINE DECRIES NEW RULES ON CHILDREN'S HEALTH CARE AS "ONEROUS": Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine informed President Bush this week that New Jersey will not obey federal rules that would make it harder to enroll middle-income kids for a popular government-subsidized health insurance program. Washington Post: N.J.’s Corzine to Defy New Health Care Rules
HRC PUTS FINISHING TOUCHES ON HEALTH CARE PLAN: Hillary Clinton plans to unveil the third, final, and perhaps thorniest part of her health care reform blueprint on Monday. Boston Globe: Clinton Will Finish Health Care Plan on Monday
‘08ERS TO TACKLE HEALTHCARE ISSUES ON THE WEB: A coalition of diverse healthcare groups is sponsoring a series of presidential candidate forum webcasts featuring hopefuls from both parties. The Hill: Healthcare Groups Sponsor Presidential Forums
PROTESTERS DESCEND ON DC: A week of events meant to crank up a national demonstration against the war in Iraq is set to begin tomorrow, with a 1,000-person "die-in" at the US Capitol led by current and former American troops and accompanied by taps and a mock 21-gun salute. Boston Globe: 'Die-in" Outside US Capitol to Launch Week of War Protests
"STRAIGHT TALK" FROM OBAMA AND PAUL NETS MILITARY DONATIONS: Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Ron Paul have little in common politically, except their opposition to the Iraq war. Both top a new list of presidential candidates receiving campaign contributions from people who work for the four branches of the military and National Guard, according to a study released Thursday by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. USA Today: Obama, Paul Net Most Military Workers' Campaign Donations
KID IN CROWD AT OBAMA RALLY GIVES HILLARY A BOOST: As Sen. Barack Obama sought to differentiate himself from the rest of the Democratic field today on the issue of the Iraq war, a seven-year-old in the audience evened the playing field. Chicago Tribune’s The Swamp: 'Opie' Had a Tough Comment for Obama
CALIFORNIA BLACK CAUCUS PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR OBAMA: The California Legislative Black Caucus decided yesterday to endorse Sen. Barack Obama"s presidential bid, giving him organizing ability and a political boost in the biggest prize on the primary map. Washington Times: Obama Gets Key Black Support
THOMPSON USES SOUTHERN TIES TO APPEAL TO FLORIDA VOTERS: In a bizarro primary season in which the Republican Party's two front-runners see Iowa and New Hampshire as afterthoughts, Florida is shaping up to be the site of a showdown between Mayor Giuliani and Fred Thompson. New York Sun: Mr. Sunshine State
"IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID": Americans' views of the economy reflect how they vote, not where they live, a new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll of three states that have early presidential contests found. Bloomberg News: Republicans See a Healthy Economy, Democrats a Struggling One, Poll Finds
BASE UNDECIDED: White men, conservatives, evangelicals and other pivotal building blocs of the Republican Party are divided among its leading contenders for president, leaving the race for the 2008 GOP nomination highly fluid, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll. AP via DC Examiner: GOP Presidential Race Fluid
TOP GOP CANDIDATES BLAME BUSY SCHEDULES FOR MISSING DEBATE: Three of the four leading Republican presidential candidates turned down invitations to a PBS debate this month at a historically black college in Baltimore, leading moderator Tavis Smiley on Thursday to accuse them of ignoring minority voters. USA Today: Smiley: GOP Candidates Ignore Minorities
EDWARDS DIRECTS SUBPRIME MORTGAGE EARNINGS TO KATRINA VICTIMS: Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, whose personal investments have been linked to foreclosure suits filed against three dozen victims of Hurricane Katrina, has helped set up a charitable organization to help the homeowners. Wall Street Journal: Edwards Tackles Katrina Flap
DEMS LOOK TO WIDEN SENATE MAJORITY: With Democrat Mark Warner announcing today - via e-mail and a YouTube video - that he will seek the Virginia Senate seat Republican John Warner (no relation) is giving up in next year's election, there's little question where one of the happiest places in Washington is located these days. LA Times’s Top of the Ticket: A Look at the Senate's '08 Scorecard
GOP CANDIDATE HOLDS SLIM LEAD IN NEBRASKA SENATE RACE: Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns held a 9-point lead over Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning in a new poll of the Republican Senate primary in the Cornhusker State. Roll Call: New Poll: Bruning Within Striking Distance of Johanns
SHAHEEN TAKES ON SUNUNU FOR NH SENATE SEAT: Former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen will be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2008, the New Hampshire Union Leader has learned. The Democratic former three-term chief executive is expected to issue a statement today addressing her political plans. New Hampshire Union Leader: Shaheen to Run for Senate
CONDI'S ANNOYING 9/11 ACCESORY: When your profession is diplomacy, you have to both talk and dress well. For Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, her outfit at Monday’s White House remembrance ceremony for Sept. 11 victims was almost perfect — except for that pesky leaf stuck in her hair. DC Examiner: Leaf Her Hair Looking Pretty
On the Political Radar:
* Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, teams up with former NBA star Earvin "Magic" Johnson for a meeting with community leaders at King Drew Magnet School in Los Angeles. Johnson also holds a fundraiser for the senator.
* Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani delivers a speech at the Louisiana Sheriff's Association Building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After that, he heads to Tulsa and Ada, Oklahoma to meet with local residents.
* Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson meets with residents in Miami and Cape Coral, Florida. In the evening, he gives a speech at the Pasco County Reagan Day Dinner in New Port Richey, Florida.
* Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, continues his "No Surrender" bus tour with a rally in Londonderry, New Hampshire.
* Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, attends the Schaben Family Livestock Auction in Dunlap, Iowa.
* Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee heads to the Hawkeye State, with campaign stops in Clinton, Maquoketa, Anamosa and Dubuque.
* New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson holds a series of "Job Interviews" in Orange City, Sibley, Spencer, Spirit Lake and Estherville, Iowa.
* Former President Bill Clinton attends a fundraiser for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, at Palenque Grill in Laredo, Texas.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook